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On Form 1040A, Line 28, the IRS appears to be offering to do my taxes for me.

Do you want the IRS to figure your tax for you?

What are some reasons why one would not want them to do this?

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According to the instructions, there are lots of situations in which you cannot ask the IRS to figure your tax. Some common ones include: you itemize deductions, you have capital gains, you earned over $100K, or you want your refund direct-deposited.

Some reasons why you might not want the IRS to figure your tax even if you are eligible to have them do so would be ...

  • the same reason why you might not want an accountant doing your taxes: there's no guarantee that they'll do it correctly.
  • if you don't have itemized deductions, high income, or weird forms of income, then you've already done most of the work by the time you get to Line 28. It's trivial to do the last couple steps to figure out how much tax you owe.
  • if the IRS figures your tax amount and you still owe money, then you have to wait for the IRS to get back to you, then cut a check, then worry if the check got there on time, etc. The extra back-and-forth can be a hassle.
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    I'll add that it isn't a guarantee against audit either. My wife did this before I met her. They made a mistake in her favor then later came back for the difference and still imposed penalties.
    – JohnFx
    Mar 20, 2015 at 21:04
  • @JohnFx That's ... amazing. And yet somehow not unbelieveable.
    – dg99
    Mar 20, 2015 at 21:37

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